A recent study evaluated chest, head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation and determined that use of statin medications can reduce the risk of stroke by 32% (statistically significant).  The effects of radiation can cause scarring and thickening of the arteries, which can lead to blockages down the line; statins help protect the arteries and prevent those cardiovascular events. Read more here.
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Although CMS announced that it would not implement DIR fee reform for 2020, some members of Congress are still attempting to address the issue via the Phair Pricing Act (S. 640).  Certain advocacy groups have made the argument that DIR fee reform may lead to lower costs for patients and provide more pricing transparency for pharmacy owners.  We will continue to follow this story and all developments that impact NCODA stakeholders.
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Although antineoplastics have retained position as a protected class of medicines with open formularies, CMS did agree to implement Step Therapy with Medicare B medications.  And despite receiving over 4000 comments regarding price concessions and DIR fees, the agency has decided to not include a proposal to pass on price concessions negotiated by the pharmacy to patients in 2020.  These actions may limit patient access to medications and fail to address the high costs they often pay at the pharmacy counter.  Read more

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